Tennessee Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt announced this week that offensive lineman Cade Mays, who transferred to UT from Georgia earlier this offseason, recently had his waiver (for immediate eligibility) denied by the NCAA.

The Vols are appealing the decision.

“We obviously applied for a waiver for initial eligibility here, it was denied. We’re in the process of appealing that,” said Pruitt this week.

The third-year Tennessee head coach added, “the circumstances surrounding him and his family are something he had no control over”.

I have no idea how this will play out with the NCAA. It could truly go either way, though it’s understandable if fans aren’t optimistic that the NCAA will do the right thing.

Obviously the Vols want Mays to receive immediate eligibility — he’s expected to be an important part of Tennessee’s offensive line rotation in 2020.

But even if Mays isn’t cleared by the NCAA for the 2020 season, the Vols will still benefit from this whole situation.

Tennessee Vols

Here’s why.

This week, Mays’ attorney, Gregory P. Isaacs, made some on-the-record comments to the Knoxville News Sentinel about the junior offensive lineman’s waiver case.

And his comments didn’t exactly paint Georgia in a positive light.

“The mandate of the NCAA is to ensure the well-being and the future success of student-athletes. Cade Mays clearly meets these criteria”, said Isaacs.

“Because of a variety of factors, it was a toxic environment (at Georgia) that did not support Cade Mays’ well-being as a student-athlete,” added Isaacs.

Georgia doesn’t come out looking good in this regardless of what happens with Mays’ appeal, which is something that Tennessee and other programs will use against the Bulldogs in recruiting.

(And there’s certainly a possibility that more details about the “toxic environment” at Georgia could emerge in the coming weeks.)

Georgia is one of the top recruiting teams in the SEC. They’re often in play for a lot of the same recruits as the Vols. Anything that can help Tennessee in a recruiting battle against the Bulldogs is a plus for Pruitt and his staff.

There’s no doubt fans would prefer to see Mays in orange and white this fall. But that decision rests in the hands of the NCAA.

The recruiting edge the appeal provides, however, is something that will go in Tennessee’s favor independent of the NCAA’s decision on Mays.

Featured image via 247Sports/Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports 

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